Sweeter than sugar, tastier than curd,
sweeter indeed than honey is the Name of Rama. Constant repetition
of this sweet Name gives one the taste of divine nectar itself.
Therefore, contemplate on the Name of Rama incessantly.
Vedas are the quintessence of profound, immeasurable and infinite
wisdom. In Treta Yuga, the four Vedas assumed physical form and
incarnated as Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. While Rig Veda
assumed the form of Rama, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharvana Veda
manifested in the forms of Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna,
Divine Power of Mantras
Rama symbolized Rig Veda. He was
Mantraswarupa (embodiment of Mantras). Lakshmana was Mantradrasta (one
who contemplated on the Mantras) and he put the teachings of Rama into
practice. He followed Rama faithfully. He considered Rama Nama as the
Taraka (liberating) Mantra. He, in fact, considered Rama everything -
mother, father, Guru and God. Bharata was the embodiment of Sama Veda
and chanted Rama Nama incessantly with Bhava, Raga and Tala (feeling,
melody and rhythm). While Bharata was engaged in Nirguna worship
(worship of formless God), Lakshmana rejoiced in Saguna worship
(worship of God with form). Atharvana Veda manifested itself as
Satrughna who followed his three elder brothers and conquered not only
the secular world but achieved victory over the kingdom of senses
also. The Vedas thus incarnated in Treta Yuga to impart most precious
message to mankind. The two great sages Vasishtha and Viswamitra
declared to the world that the four Vedas had taken birth in human
form as Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. As a consequence of
great merit earned by Dasaratha, the four Vedas incarnated as his
sons. If anyone asked Sage Viswamitra any questions about the Vedas,
he replied, “All the four Vedas have incarnated as the four sons of
Dasaratha to set an ideal to the world.” Hence the Vedas are not
formless; they have a form.
The Mantras contained in the Vedas are of immense significance. When
Sage Viswamitra realized that the Rakshasas (demons) wanted to stop
the chanting of Vedic Mantras and destroy righteousness and truth on
earth, he sought the help of Rama and Lakshmana who symbolized the
divine forces that descended on earth to destroy the demonic forces
and establish peace in the world. With the power of Mantras taught to
them by Sage Viswamitra, Rama and Lakshmana annihilated the Rakshasas.
This incident signifies the fact that with the power of Vedic Mantras
man can destroy his demonic qualities. By engaging themselves in the
chanting of the Mantras, the people of Treta Yuga annihilated their
demonic qualities. Symbolising the divine powers of the Vedas, Rama,
Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna destroyed demonic forces and fostered
divine forces in the world. The four brothers thus established the
supremacy of the Vedas as manifestation of the aspect of God with
form. Each Mantra has a form. It has also its own inner significance.
When chanting is done with contemplation on form, it leads one to the
path of self-realisation. The Vedic seers declared: Vedahametam
Purusham Mahantam Aditya Varnam Tamasah Parastat. (I have seen
the Divine Being who shines with the splendour of a billion suns
beyond the realm of darkness). The seers and sages transcended the
darkness of ignorance and visualized the effulgence of the Divine.
They chanted the Mantras, contemplated on the form of the Divine,
performed Yajnas and attained peace and bliss. They made use of
Mantra, Tantra and Yantra in the performance of Yajnas which ensured
peace and prosperity of the people in Treta Yuga. With the help of the
Mantras, they quelled the Rakshasas and established the reign of gods.
Namasmarana for Man’s Liberation
But the people of Kali Yuga have forgotten these Mantras with the
result that Kali Yuga has verily become Kalaha Yuga (the Age of
discord and conflict). Even brothers quarrel with each other. They
live and eat together in the same family, yet there is hatred and
conflict between them. Different means for man’s liberation have been
prescribed for each of the four Yugas. While meditation is prescribed
as the primary means of liberation in Krita Yuga, performance of
Yajnas and chanting of Mantras forms the means of liberation in the
Treta Yuga. Similarly, Archana (worship of God) is the chief means of
liberation in Dwapar Yuga. But it is Namasmarana that is the main
means of man’s liberation in Kali Yuga. As the people of Kali Yuga do
not have the strength and capability to carry out rigorous Sadhana,
they have been advised to do Namasmarana.
Harernama Harernama Harernamaiva Kevalam;
Kalau Nastyeva Nastyeva Nastyeva Gatiranyatha.
(In Kali Yuga, there is no other means more effective than the
chanting of Divine Name for man’s liberation).
The Ramayana is not an ordinary story. It contains the direct message
of the Vedas. Rama symbolizes the wisdom of the Vedas. Rama married
Sita who represents Brahma Jnana (knowledge of Brahman). When Sita is
taken away by demonic forces, Rama and Lakshmana search for her
desperately. The Ramayana contains thousands of Slokas. As it was not
possible to remember all the Slokas of the Ramayana, the sages
recommended the chanting of the Name of Rama. When the disciples of
Vasishtha asked him what Divine Name to chant, the sage said, “It is
enough if you chant the name ‘Rama’. The Name of Rama will make you
free from Raga (attachment) and Roga (disease)”. As I often tell the
students, the name Rama has two syllables, ‘Ra’ and ‘ma’. These two
powerful syllables are derived from the names of Vishnu and Siva. The
syllable ‘Ra’ comes from the Ashtakshari (eight syllabled) Mantra ‘Om
Namo Narayanaya’. It is the life-breath of the Ashtakshari Mantra.
Similarly, ‘ma’ is the very soul of the Panchakshari (five lettered)
Mantra ‘Om Namah Sivaya’. The Astakshari Mantra ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’
and the Panchakshari Mantra ‘Om Namah Sivaya’ become meaningless when
‘ra’ and ‘ma’ are respectively removed from the words of these
Mantras. Without ‘ra’ the Ashtakshari Mantra becomes ‘Om Namo Nayanaya’
which is meaningless. In the same way, the Panchakshari Mantra without
‘ma’ becomes ‘Om Nah Sivaya’ which is inauspicious.The Name Rama is
the life-breath of both the Vaisanavites and Saivites (worshippers of
Vishnu and Siva).
In Treta Yuga when the sages and seers were engaged in the chanting of
the Divine Name of Rama, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and other demons tried to
put hurdles in their way. They thought that if they abducted Sita, who
symbolized Brahma Jnana, Rama would lose His power. The Name would
lose its potency without Jnana just like sugarcane loses its sweetness
without Rasa. Hanuman resolved to bring this Rasa back to Rama and
rejoiced in drinking Ramarasa (ambrosia of Rama’s Name). The people of
Treta and Dwapar Yugas considered the Name Rama to be the essence of
all sweetness and enjoyed its nectarine taste. Instead of tasting the
delicious spiritual sweetness of the Name of Rama, people today devour
worldly sweets, and expose themselves to the risk of becoming diabetic
patients. Worldly sweets cause diseases whereas the delicious sweet of
Rama Nama rids one of all diseases. In ancient India, even the
cowherds and shepherds chanted the Divine Name while tending their
cattle and sheep. There were not many diseases in ancient times. Rama,
Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna propogated the glorious power of
Vedic Mantras to free the world from diseases and suffering.
Never Neglect the Teachings of the Vedas
Mandodari, the queen of Ravana, strived hard to save her husband
Ravana. She gave wise counsel to him but Ravana paid no heed to her.
When husband takes to evil ways, a virtuous wife acts as his wise
minister to put him on the right path. Mandodari was one such wife.
Bharya (wife) is not the one who provides worldly pleasures to her
husband; she is the one who does good to him by leading him to the
path of wisdom and righteousness. Mandodari was a true Sati (wife) who
tried to mend the ways of her Pati (husband). Sita also tendered wise
counsel to Rama and advised Him not to destroy all the demons. She
suggested that only those who committed the evil deeds should be
punished. Justice does not lie in destroying the entire clan. Women
are great because they show the right path to man. They are, in fact,
the light of wisdom in the world. They, therefore, deserve protection
and reverence. Sita symbolizes Jnana Tattwa (principle of wisdom).
Sita told Rama that goodness was universal, irrespective of caste,
creed and community. It is because of women like Sita that men have
made progress in life.
There are numerous species in this world. Every one of them has a
definite purpose to fulfill in God’s creation. Some of them may appear
more beautiful than others. One cannot say whether a cow is more
beautiful or a bull. But virtues are more important than physical
beauty. Observing the good and bad in the world, the students should
develop discrimination to choose the former. They should strive hard
to cultivate virtues. Right from early age, they should inculcate good
qualities and develop good character. Wherever you go, character is of
utmost importance. When the students develop good character, the
entire country will become good and great. It is virtues that lend
greatness to any person. Rama shines in the Ramayana because of His
sterling virtues. Virtues are more important than bookish learning.
In spite of his education and intelligence
man does not give up his mean-mindedness and evil qualities. He
has no knowledge of the Self. Modern education leads to
argumentation, not to total wisdom.
Students - Boys and Girls!
You should try to attain total wisdom. You should make right use of
eyes, ears and tongue which God has gifted to you. Whoever is able to
control these three will achieve greatness. One should therefore
cultivate right vision, right hearing and right speech. Always speak
sweetly and softly. One who cultivates these three virtues will verily
become divine. This is the primary objective and fundamental basis of
all your education. Those bereft of these virtues are virtually
demons. This is the essence and the message of the Ramayana. The four
Vedas and other scriptures exhort man to follow these principles. Dear
students! Never neglect the teachings of the Vedas. They are for the
emancipation and redemption of mankind. Put them into practice in your
(Bhagavan concluded His Divine Discourse with the Bhajan
“Rama Rama Rama Sita…”)